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I am using Server 2008 R2 on a Dell Poweredge T110 for a non-critical media server for a school. Since the PE does not have any kind of RAID capability, I am considering using Windows built in mirroring to mirror a 400GB SATA drive for simple redundancy purposes.

Has anybody done this? How is performance? How is disaster recovery compared to a standard RAID setup?



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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I personally think the Windows software RAID1 is actually pretty good. Performance is roughly the same as a single drive (assuming they are identical), and if the primary drive dies you can still easily boot from the secondary and keep running.

My only complaint with the software RAID is that it is very, very touchy about shutting down cleanly, which just means it is going to check itself and rebuild the mirror online, flogging the drives while it does it (and killing performance). If this is a relatively light duty server then it won't be an impact realistically - and make sure you have it on a UPS as well.

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I'll put it to you this way. I'm using software based RAID 1 (mirroring) on production servers with Server 2003 and Server 2008.

If it is a boot volume keeping the extra copy bootable isn't foolproof but if it is data only you can't ask for any easier way to manage a RAID 1 mirror.

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Are you using the windows mirroring, or is it your mobo software raid? – Josh Brower Dec 24 '09 at 20:34
Windows. I've never used chipset specific raid that doesn't have a true hardware/cache. – pplrppl Dec 25 '09 at 21:51

Mirroring:data safety == TSA uniform:flight safety. Windows mirror setups are often all but useless in practice, since whatever corrupts one drive can easily corrupt the other. You're better off to use the second drive as permanent backup media and keep backups.

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It's safer than no disk protection, that's all you need to know right now I guess :)

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I would figure backups are not needed in this case (temporary file storage) but uptime is? Otherwise I'd use that second disk for scheduled backups first ;) ...performance could be lots better than simpler "hardware" RAIDs in my experience - entirely depending on the actual server performance... which, in these days, are usually something positive. – Oskar Duveborn Dec 24 '09 at 21:16

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